Give thanks to the Lord, for his great love is without end.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Denis (- 258)
As might be expected for a saint of such an early period, practically no hard facts about Saint Denis survive. According to St Gregory of Tours, writing some 300 years later, Denis came to Gaul from Rome in the middle of the third century. He arrived at what is now the Ile de la Cité in Paris, where he built a church, arranged the regular celebration of Mass, and preached the Gospel. Together with two members of his clergy he was martyred near the city.
Denis (in Latin, Dionysius) is not Dionysius the Areopagite, whom St Paul converted to Christianity, nor is he the author of the writings of the “Pseudo-Dionysius,” but both these confusions helped to popularise devotion to him from the seventh century onwards.
Nevertheless, the real St Denis did exist, he brought the Gospel to Paris, and he was its first martyr. For these things alone devotion to him is proper and justified.
Saint John Leonardi (1541 - 1609)
He was born at Lucca in Tuscany. Trained initially as an apothecary, he fought hard to become a priest and was ordained in 1572. A few laymen attached themselves to him in 1574 and something began to grow that looked as if it might become a religious order. A storm of persecution erupted. It seems possible that the Republic of Lucca felt that being the birthplace of a religious order might be dangerous for the independence of the state, given the complicated international politics of the time. Whatever the reason, Leonardi spent most of the rest of his life in exile from Lucca, only occasionally obtaining permission to visit it after extreme pressure from the Pope.
The order that he founded, now known as the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, is in charge of eight churches in Italy and is also involved in missionary work. In addition, his work was taken up and extended by the Popes into the Work of the Propagation of the Faith (de propaganda fidei), of which he is therefore honoured as the founder.
The web site of Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God is here
Other saints: Saint John Henry Newman (1801 - 1890)
England, Ireland, Wales
Saint John Henry Newman was born on 21 February 1801 in London, England. As an Anglican clergyman for over twenty years he won renown as a preacher and theologian. A Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, he became one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement and a prominent figure in the Church of England. On 9 October 1845 he was received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Passionist Congregation. After a period of study in Rome he was ordained priest on 30 May 1847. Returning to England he established the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Birmingham. He was an influential writer on many subjects, most notably the development of Christian doctrine, the true understanding of conscience, faith and reason, the role of the laity, and university education. In 1879 he was created Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII and given the title of San Giorgio in Velabro. He died in the Birmingham Oratory on 11 August 1890. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 and canonised by Pope Francis on 13 October 2019.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Vincent of Lérins (- c.445)
Vincent was born in Toulouse and after a secular career he joined the abbey of Lérins, on an island just offshore from the French Riviera town of Cannes. He took part in the major theological controversies of the day, which were far from sterile academic squabbling but were part of the vital process of finding out what precisely Christianity is. He opposed Nestorianism, defending the status of Mary as Mother of God. He enunciated the famous principle that “In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all (quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus)”.
The other great controversy of the time, which took more than a century to settle, was on the nature of grace. At one extreme was Pelagianism, named after Pelagius, a British monk (who held at least some form of it): this made justification something we could achieve for ourselves. If you take that argument far enough, there seems little room for the grace of God. At the other extreme was what might be called Augustinism, a selective view of St Augustine’s counter to Pelagianism, according to which all that is good comes from God and we, of ourselves, can achieve nothing good at all. Now, if you take that particular argument far enough, God has already decided whether we are saved or not, and nothing we can do can have any effect on it, so that there is no point in performing good works or avoiding sin.
Current opinion is that in striking the balance between these extremes Vincent himself was what would now be called a “semi-Pelagian”, semi-Pelagianism being a kind of half-way doctrine which was formulated in southern Gaul in the early fifth century and formally condemned in 529 at the Second Council of Orange. It was only in the 17th century that this particular label was applied to Vincent, and in any case the presence or absence of such a label does not detract from the value of everything that Vincent taught and wrote. The branding of one’s doctrinal opponents as being in every sense depraved and unclean is a characteristic of only certain historical periods – admittedly, including the 21st century. Vincent’s own analysis of the development of doctrine brings good sense into an area where it is much needed, and this is why this reading has been chosen for the Liturgy of the Hours.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Romans 1:16-17 ©|
The power of God saves all who have faith – Jews first, but Greeks as well – since this is what reveals the justice of God to us: it shows how faith leads to faith, or as scripture says: The upright man finds life through faith.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Romans 3:21-22 ©|
God’s justice that was made known through the Law and the Prophets has now been revealed outside the Law, since it is the same justice of God that comes through faith to everyone who believes.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Ephesians 2:8-9 ©|
It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.